Thursday, November 10, 2005

Out, just out

Loads to cram in tonight…

Lively do on Tuesday, Gaiman discussing the intrinsic joy of stories, and how without them – and asking “what if?” – we’d all still be mooking about the African savannah, waiting for animals to drop dead so we could eat them.

Gothier, freakier audience than for Fry, and a much better quality of question. Notably, there were no stalkers, or “me and my opinion” bores. The nearest was a bloke politely enquiring if he might get a second question… Naw.

I’d heard many of the stories before through the blog, but it’s fun to hear them out loud, and with someone beside me who doesn’t know, for example, of the melty-eyed Muppets in Hampstead.

Gaiman also talked about the use of blogging; keeping the brain limber, engaging with ideas. See, it’s not merely for parrying real work. Honest.

Lenny Henry, who was there to read from Anansi Boys (which he’d got the ball rolling on a thousand years ago by muttering that horror never has any black people in it), laughed at a question about whose universe would get used if Gaiman and Joss Whedon teamed up. Gaiman laughed back: Henry’s a comic-reading geekboy, bad as the rest of us, and all-too-versed in other people’s universes…

(Not sure “universe” – meaning entirely everything – is the right word, ‘cos you can’t have more than one entirely-everything. Nor is “parallel” the right term either. “Parallel worlds” tend to be the same but different, where one choice made the place go a different way. But parallels don’t intersect… “Branches” is probably best, and cf. chapter 9 of my bloody book.)

Gaiman lives a really enviable life as an author – it’s endearing how little there is that he doesn’t like or isn’t interested in. Or, at least, how little he’ll say that’s not keen. Really inspired by his enthusiasm for all manner of anything. “Research” is an excuse to poddle round LA looking at graveyards, a “block” (not a term he likes, he was keen to explain) means beach-time in Barbados, puzzling things out…

Dead envious of Henry, too, who’s read Miracleman #25. Bastard!

There was all kind of name-dropping, as Gaiman’s loved by Tarantino’s mum, wrote some of his book in Tori Amos’s spare house, and couldn’t judge what Angelina Jolie is really like because he had her wearing an all-over, blue, gimp-sort-of suit for reasons of smart CGI…

Yes, I thought. That’s the sort of writerly schmoozing I’d like to get at some day. And then spent yesterday with Sylvester and Sophie and… well, fab actors to be announced soon… Maybe speak of that another time.

After recording yesterday, I fitted a curtain rail and then watched the brilliant Much Ado… Really very lovely indeed. And well done B. for top Toad in the Hole, fruity booze and good cheer.

Much drunken natter ‘bout the Government being whupped. Really, this should have happened at the start of the year – and only didn’t because the other parties dropped the ball. As was said while the Terrorism Bill clogged the Lords, it’s depressing when the only effective opposition in this country is that there Jeremy Paxman…

Ignoring hangovers, today the Doctor got doctored officially, and got to shake hands with Eric Hobsbawm. Finally, school is over. Another graduate, taking her baby with her up on stage, sums up Birkbeck’s zealous championing of the part-time student, juggling research with a full-time life. Bain’t easy. I couldn’t have done what the Doctor did, and am full of awe and pride and amazement.

Looked pretty fit in her hood and felt hat, too.

After cheap fizz and canap├ęs (I had almost three) we and the parents did Persia (v. good, full of detail, and Neil McGregor’s audio-commentary is well-worth picking up), and then tea. Lots of chatting about not much in particular. My dad’s read Time Travellers, and thinks it okay.

Then home, shagged out, to finish chores, pay more money out on new house, decide which questions are to be asked of my team this weekend, pack, snog the mrs, sleep.

Sweden tomorrow morning. Maybe without email (!), hence clearing the decks of stuff now. More Wednesday next week if not sooner.

But a mate has a blog that’s worth reading, and my review of a film is now up.

Out of here.

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